6 of the world's best sustainable places to stay
Environmental sustainability has, quite rightly, become a priority for hotels and resorts across the planet. As more of us travel for the purposes of business, pleasure and leisure, we look at six of the best sustainable accommodations and what they’re doing to be green.
1. Bamurru Plains, Northern Territory
Expect the birdsong and sounds of the wildlife to build to a deafening roar as the sky turns a dark indigo outside your safari-style bungalow at Bamurru Plains.
Watch as fat magpie geese waddle across the tarmac that is the wetlands and fly through the grey curtains of rain clouds as if they’ve performed their final act for the evening. It’s one of many immersive eco experiences to be had while bunkered down in the 10 safari-style bungalows, which are a nod to the luxury glampsites in Africa.
Here, in the heart of Kakadu National Park you can go on safari to learn about the local ecosystem, whiz along the surface of the wetlands in an airboat, spot crocs on a river cruise and learn about ancient Indigenous art and culture of the land. There’s no Netflix nor WiFi at the camp, which is powered by the sun and built on the fringes of the floodplains to ensure its impact on the environment is minimal.
2. Six Senses Fiji
Six Senses is known for building sustainable hotels in staggeringly beautiful places. Six Senses Fiji is located on Malolo Island and is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Pacific. As well as being built from all natural stones, and weather-resistant warm woods, the resort has one of the largest off-grid solar installations using Tesla battery packs in the Southern Hemisphere.
The resort’s sustainability initiatives are also backed up by its commitment to environmental and social sustainability: in addition to supporting traditional cottage crafts, it employs local people of Fijian nationality. Six Senses Fiji also protects the habitat of 17 critically endangered crested iguanas, has an onsite farm to grow its own produce, uses local fisherman and sources its eggs from its own Cluckingham Palace.
The resort is plastic-free and has an in-house reverse osmosis plant and water refinery to transform rainwater into drinking water for reusable bottles. Guests can also get involved in coral planting and preservation programs.
3. Clayoquot Wilderness
This resort perched in the center of the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve has an emphasis on leaving no trace behind. The luxury white canvas tents honour the early prospectors of the turn-of-the-century, offering visitors to this quiet corner of Canada’s British Columbia a relaxing stay in the heart of the wild.
The name Clayoquot is derived from the name of a subgroup of the Nuu-chah-nulth who lived in the region and today, the Relais & Châteaux property works closely with the Ahousaht First Nation people to provide unprecedented sustainable access to the reserve.
Word on the long and winding grapevine is that guests, all of whom arrive by boat or seaplane to the resort, embrace the opportunity to be part of the Coastal Ambassador Program to remove marine debris from the area to promote nesting and breeding in the area.
The remote resort, which features just 25 luxurious guest tents, looks out over the ever-changing estuary where the Pacific Ocean meets the Bedwell River.
4. Swell Lodge, Christmas Island
Sir David Attenborough named Christmas Island as one of his favourite spots in the world after his visit during the island’s annual red crab migration.
Two-thirds of the island is protected as a national park, making it paradise for everyone from lovers of wildlife to scuba divers, budding botanists and bird-watchers.
Now, visitors to the island can also kick back in secluded luxury at Swell Lodge, where each of the luxury lodge’s eco chalets are powered by solar, saving more than 750 kg of C02 from entering the atmosphere every year.
Swell Lodge, located on the island’s untamed west coast, also gets full marks for its modern odourless composting toilet, greywater filtration system, biodegradable soaps, crab-safe vehicle attachment and carbon-offset program.
Eco upticks aside, each chalet has killer coastal views. Time your visit to coincide with the wet season, when the endangered whale sharks congregate off the coast of Christmas Island.
5. COMO Maalifushi
This away-from-it-all resort offers elegant overwater accommodation, beach suites, blue skies and cobalt seas. It also opens the curtains on its efforts to create memorable and sustainable travel experiences: it has partnered with EcoOcean to contribute to whale shark research; asks guests to ID turtles to monitor the marine life; and surveys the Thaa atoll reef to capture its current status and health.
The resort has also planted more than 800 corals on the house reef after the mass bleaching event in the Maldives in 2016. Guests who choose COMO Maalifushi because of its conservation efforts can also book an ECO package that offers discounts on sustainable activities.
6. Sherwood Queenstown, New Zealand
Sherwood is consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 most sustainable hotel lists. Set on 1.2 hectares of rolling alpine hillside overlooking Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, the Sherwood is as much about community as it is about sustainability with places and spaces designed to connect guests with the local residents through a program of educational workshops, live music and wellbeing retreats.
Manaakitanga is the Maori word for hospitality and it means to show respect: it’s also at the heart of the hotel operations.
Sherwood is driven by zero-waste principles and procures its produce as locally and ethically as possible. It has also diverted more than 40,000 kg of waste from landfill over the last 18 months, and is one of the only hotels in the Southern Hemisphere to be powered by the sun.